Dr Antonio Lázaro-Reboll
Dr Antonio Lázaro-Reboll is a Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies. Prior to his appointment at the University of Kent in September 2003, he was a Lector in Spanish at the University of Nottingham, where he completed a Masters in Critical Theory and Cultural Studies and a PhD in Hispanic Studies. All of his postgraduate work and academic professional career has developed in the United Kingdom.
Dr Antonio Lázaro-Reboll is Deputy Head of the School of European Culture & Languages, with responsibility for planning, and a member of the School’s EDI Committee. He is also Co-Director of the Centre for Film and Media Research, which aims to support, produce and disseminate cutting-edge film and media research.
He was previously Visiting Lecturer at Spain's Universitat Rovira i Virgil, Departamento de Estudios de Comunicación.
Antonio's research interests are in Spanish cultural studies and film studies, especially Spanish popular film, the development of film cultures in Spain (reception, consumption and fandom), and the cross-cultural dialogue between Spain and other world cinemas.
He has developed a substantive and internationally recognised publication record in the area of Spanish film studies and European horror cinema. He is currently working on the role of Spanish and European film support agencies from an interdisciplinary perspective to examine how the economic and cultural value of film is created and circulated.
A second area of research interest is his work on Spanish comics cultures and related alternative publications in Spain during two key moments of recent Spanish history, late Francoism and the Transition. Publications related to this project focus on the emergence of the field of Spanish comics in the mid-1960s and early 1970s and the ways in which comics engaged with the ‘here and now’ of the Spanish Transition.
Antonio's publications include two co-edited volumes, Cult Movies: The Cultural Politics of Oppositional Taste (Manchester University Press, 2003) and Spanish Popular Cinema (Manchester University Press, 2004), and the monograph Spanish Horror Film (Edinburgh University Press, 2013).
He has supervised PhD projects in the areas of Spanish film studies and cultural studies and welcomes applications from prospective students interested in further study in his areas of interest.
Three of his most recent PhD students have been awarded 50th Anniversary and Vice Chancellor’s Research scholarships as part of the Graduate Teaching Assistantship scheme. As a PhD External Examiner, he has been appointed to panels in the UK, Spain and Australia.
Dr Lázaro-Reboll teaches in many different areas of Modern Spanish Studies (art, literature, history and culture) and has developed and delivered research-led teaching in the areas of film and cultural studies.
Cultural and visual theory are central to much of his research, and give scope for a number of modules and dissertation projects across art, film, history and cultural theory.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2018). Historicizing the Emergence of Comics Art Scholarship in Spain, 1965-1975. European Comic Art [Online] 11:8-29. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/eca.2018.110102.This article traces the formation of comics art scholarship in Spain during the period 1965 to 1975. This decade witnessed the beginning of the study of comics as a serious object of cultural analysis. Reading formations surrounding the medium, in particular historical and critical reading protocols, as well as a set of key critical debates, were concurrent with the establishment and the development of mass communication studies as an incipient field of research in Spain in the mid-1960s. The aim of the article is to provide a close examination of the first generation of critics participating in and writing about the scene in relation to hitherto overlooked local and transnational contexts that shaped the constitution of the Spanish field of comics.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2016). Making Zines: Re-Reading European Trash Cinema (1988-1998). Film Studies [Online] 15:30-53. Available at: https://doi.org/10.7227/FS.0007.Discussion of the horror film fanzine culture of the 1980s and early 1990s has been
dominated by an emphasis on questions around the politics of taste, considerations
of subcultural capital and cultism in fan writing, and processes of cultural distinction
and the circulation of forms of capital. Sconce’s concept of ‘paracinema’ has come
to shape the conceptual approach to fanzines. The aim of this article is to refocus
attention on other areas of fanzine production, providing a more nuanced and richer
historicisation of these publications and the ways they contributed to the circulation,
reception and consumption of European horror film. Focusing on the fanzine
European Trash Cinema I propose a return to the actual cultural object – the printed
zine – examining the networks of producers converging around, and writing about,
Euro horror films and related European trash cinematic forms, as well as the contents
within the publication itself.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2014). Daring Cycles: the Towers–Franco Collaboration, 1968–70. New Review of Film and Television Studies [Online] 11:92-110. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17400309.2012.740595.This paper focuses on the prolific partnership between British independent producer Harry Alan Towers and Spanish filmmaker Jesús Franco, which yielded a total of nine films between 1968 and 1970. The Towers–Franco collaboration worked across genres, cinematic and literary traditions, and nations. Their partnership serves here as a case study to examine serial production and related forms of exploitation cinema such as sexploitation, in particular their specific modes of production and their actual modes of circulation and reception. Through an analysis of The Blood of Fu Manchu/Kiss and Kill (1968), The Castle of Fu Manchu/Assignment Istanbul (1969), 99 Women (1969), Paroxismus/Venus in Furs (1969), and Eugenie … The Story of Her Journey into Perversion (1970), the paper examines the complex and convoluted histories of international co-production, distribution, exhibition, and reception in the late 1960s.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2007). Transnational Reception of El espinazo del diablo (Guillermo del Toro, 2001. Hispanic Research Journal [Online] 8:39-51. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/174582007X164320.Mexican director Guillermo del Toro's cinematic trajectory has already taken him from his native country in Cronos (1992) to the big budgets of Hollywood in Mimic (1997), Blade II (2002), and Hellboy (2004), and to Spain with his Mexican-Spanish co-productions, El espinazo del diablo and, more recently, El laberinto del fauno (2006). With particular attention to El espinazo del diablo, my interest lies in examining how the transnational status of this film generated a certain set of readings of the text. Three specific contexts of reception (Spain, Mexico and Hollywood) articulate my analysis of film critics' responses to del Toro's first 'Spanish' film. The final section of the essay offers a localized reading by examining del Toro's distinctive articulation of the horror genre in an established tradition of film-making on the subject of the Spanish Civil War and his inscription of the comic book Paracuellos in the filmic text.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2004). Counter-Rational Reason: Goya's Instrumental Negotiations of Flesh and World. History of European Ideas 30:109-119.How do Goya's representations of the body disrupt the Enlightenment's configurations of the corporeal? If for eighteenth-century aesthetics the body is both the site of ideal beauty and the limit of what can and may be represented, then Goya's panoply of monsters provides a way of understanding other modes of reason(ing), other ways of representing the body and its functions within culture. In his work there is a recuperation of those elements that seem to lie outside the ken of the Enlightenment project: physicality, animality, hybridity, the grotesque, the popular; a recognition of the animal nature of the body and the products of bodily impulses and forces. A rethinking of the body would incorporate an understanding of its role as a physical and social phenomenon in the constitution of the subject. Following on from Paul Ilie's concept of counter-rational Reason, which he defines as the opposite of a uniform centre of rationality in representative thought, the first half of my paper will consider Goya's problematization of representation. My analysis of a selection of drawings from the collection Los Caprichos (1799) will focus not just on the representation of bodies in the painter's work but on his exploration of bodies in their material variety—configurations of modes of constructing the body. This examination of Goya's prolific pictorial negotiations and adaptations of flesh and world will draw upon contemporary approaches to theorizing the body, namely the theories of Julia Kristeva and Elizabeth Grosz.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2002). Masculinidades genéricas: tomas criminales en La semana del asesino (1971). Dossiers feministes 6:171-186.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2012). Spanish Horror Film. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Spanish Horror Film is the first in-depth exploration of the genre in Spain from the 'horror boom' of the late 1960s and early 1970s to the most recent production in the current renaissance of Spanish genre cinema, through a study of its production, circulation, regulation and consumption. The examination of this rich cinematic tradition is firmly located in relation to broader historical and cultural shifts in recent Spanish history and as an important part of the European horror film tradition and the global culture of psychotronia.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2018). Endless Re-View: Jess Franco in Video Watchdog and Eyeball. in: Lázaro-Reboll, A. and Olney, I. eds. The Films of Jess Franco. Chicago, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, pp. 242-264. Available at: https://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/films-jess-franco.As one of the most celebrated and well-represented exploitation and cult auteurs, Jess Franco’s work has been regularly covered in many a fanzine devoted to horror across the world. Some film commentators have returned repeatedly and compulsively to his films, among them Tim Lucas since the first issue of his Video Watchdog, in which he discussed in auterist terms ‘How to Read a Franco Film’, and Stephen Thrower from the pages of the magazine Eyeball (1989-1998), and, more recently in his Murderous Passions. The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco (2015), the first of two volumes to provide a completist approach to Franco’s filmography.
This chapter focuses on discursive constructions and fan-canonizations of Franco as an exploitation and cult auteur in Anglo-American contexts of reception and consumption since the late 1980s to the present date. An examination of two localized cult responses, Video Watchdog and Eyeball, is presented vis-à-vis Franco’s own responses to these critical constructions and Franco’s very own (and on-going) process of strategic investment in auterism and cultism.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2017). Generating Fear: From Fantastic Factory (2000-2005) to [REC] (2007-2014). in: Mari, J. ed. Tracing the Borders of Spanish Horror Cinema and Television. New York, US and London, UK: Routledge, pp. 161-189. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/Tracing-the-Borders-of-Spanish-Horror-Cinema-and-Television/Mari/p/book/9780415348638.This chapter describes the industrial backdrop out of which Filmax genre production grew in order to firmly locate the [REC] series as part of the company’s established practices of production, distribution and promotion. The second section moves on to a discussion of the central features of the series, with particular focus on the narrative world of the 2007 film, its key formal and stylistic strategies, as well as its self-conscious dialogue with horror genre conventions and traditions. The narrative and aesthetic strategy of blurring reality and fiction, of experimenting with televisual language and contemporary media culture in the horror genre, delivered an innovative film. While [REC] exploited an industrially and commercially proven genre circuit trailed by Filmax since the early 2000s, it also stood out in the context of contemporary Spanish horror film as a franchise business which expanded the [REC] brand to a range of other media as the saga developed. As a film commodity which has been distributed and exhibited globally, the chapter finally considers its critical reception – including that of [REC]’s Hollywood remake Quarantine – in Spain, the US and the UK by examining the ways in which transnational readings articulate Balagueró’s maxim “think-local-but-act-global-approach” and position the franchise in dialogue with horror film cultures.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2017). Sexual Horror Stories: The Eroticisation of Spanish Horror Film (1969–75). in: Fouz-Hernandez, S. ed. Spanish Erotic Cinema. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 74-91. Available at: https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-spanish-erotic-cinema-hb.html.For many cultural commentators, the combination of horror, eroticism and sex characterised many Spanish horror films of the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Spanish horror films of the period partook of the general permissiveness to reveal (parts of) the body and exploit the imaging of eroticism and sexuality. As Fotogramas’ film critic Mr. Belvedere argued in his article ‘España 69, la lenta escalada del erotismo’, the so-called exploitation of ‘erotismo de consumo’ (1969: np) was taking place not only in the auterist works of New Spanish Cinema directors but also in popular comedies. Spanish horror films also joined this growing trend. This chapter therefore contextualizes contemporary horror film production vis-à-vis broader changing attitudes toward sex and its cinematic representation, discourses on cinema and eroticism in the cultural sphere and wider socio-historical changes in sexual mores and depictions of the body.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2012). Film Noir, the Thriller, and Horror (Chapter 9). in: Labanyi, J. and Pavlovic, T. eds. A Companion to Spanish Cinema. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 259-290.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2012). Strategic Auteurism (Chapter 6). in: Labanyi, J. and Pavlovic, T. eds. A Companion to Spanish Cinema. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 152-190.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2009). “Perversa América Latina”: The Reception of Latin American Exploitation Cinemas in Spanish Subcultures. in: Ruetalo, V. and Tierney, D. eds. Latsploitation, Exploitation Cinemas and Latin America. London: Routledge, pp. 37-54. Available at: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415993869/.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2008). ‘Now Playing Everywhere’: Spanish Horror Film in the Marketplace. in: Beck, J. and Rodriguez Ortega, V. eds. Contemporary Spanish Cinema and Genre. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 65-83.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2005). Torrente : El brazo tonto de la ley e Torrente 2: Misión en Marbella / Torrente: The Dumb Arm of the Law and Torrente 2: Mission in Marbella. in: Mira, A. ed. The Cinema of Spain and Portugal. London and New York: Wallflower Press, pp. 219-227.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2005). La noche de Walpurgis / Shadow of the Werewolf. in: Mira, A. ed. The Cinema of Spain and Portugal. London and New York: Wallflower Press, pp. 129-138.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. and Willis, A. (2004). Introduction: Film Studies, Spanish Cinema and Questions of the Popular. in: Lázaro-Reboll, A. and Willis, A. eds. Spanish Popular Cinema. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 1-23.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2004). Screening “Chicho”: The Horror Ventures of Narciso Ibáñez Serrador. in: Lázaro-Reboll, A. and Willis, A. eds. Spanish Popular Cinema. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 152-168.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2002). Exploitation in the Cinema of Franco and Klimovsky. in: Godsland, S. and White, A. eds. Cultura Popular. Studies in Spanish and Latin American Popular Culture. UK: Peter Lang, pp. 83-95.This article appears in a volume which constitutes an important contribution to the study of Hispanic popular culture, both in terms of theoretical concerns about the definitions of popular culture and in terms of the insights it offers into a wider range of popular cultural phenomena. My chapter focuses on one of the most neglected popular genres in Spanish film studies and identifies the need for an archaeology of horror in Spanish film, arguing that the analysis of Spanish horror offers a productive way into the discussion of key debates such as culture and subculture, canon and criticism and reading protocols within the field of Spanish cultural studies. The piece establishes the theoretical and methodological groundwork for my project on Spanish horror film from the late 1960s to the present which will finally lead to the publication of the first critical history of the hitherto neglected area of Spanish horror.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. and Olney, I. eds. (2018). The Films of Jess Franco. Detroit, Michigan, USA: Wayne State University Press.Jesús “Jess” Franco (1930-2013) is one of the most prolific and madly inventive filmmakers in the history of cinema. His remarkable career spanned more than half a century and produced around two hundred films shot in Spain and across Europe. He is best known as the director of jazzy, erotically-charged horror movies featuring mad scientists, lesbian vampires, and women in prison, but dabbled in a multitude of genres from comedy to science-fiction to pornography. Although he made his career in the ghetto of low-budget exploitation cinema, he managed to create a body of work that is deeply personal, frequently political, and surprisingly poetic. Franco’s offbeat films command a devoted cult following; they have even developed a mainstream audience in recent years, thanks to their release on DVD and Blu-Ray. To date, however, they have received very little scholarly attention. The Films of Jess Franco seeks to address this neglect, and at the same time to broaden the conversation around the director’s work in ways that will be of interest to fans and academics alike. Arguing that his multifaceted, paradoxical cinema cannot be pinned down by any one single approach, this edited volume—the first dedicated to Franco—features twelve original essays on his movies written from a variety of different perspectives by noted scholars around the world. Ultimately, its aim is to encourage both reassessment of a critically-undervalued filmmaker and recognition of his significant contributions to popular European cinema and culture.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. and Willis, A. eds. (2004). Spanish Popular Cinema. Manchester: Manchester University Press.This co-edited volume is the first collection in English to focus exclusively on the various forms of popular film produced in Spain, acknowledging the variety, range and depth of Spanish popular film. The scholarship in the volume is of a high standard, combining the authority of established critics and newcomers. Both the introductory This co-edited volume is the first collection in English to focus exclusively on the various forms of popular film produced in Spain, acknowledging the variety, range and depth of Spanish popular film. The scholarship in the volume is of a high standard, combining the authority of established critics and newcomers. Both the introductory study and the chapters are an intervention in the area of Spanish film studies, challenging some of the perceptions that area currently held about Spanish cinema. Spanish film history, canon-formation and cultural politics are at the centre of this work. The volume examines what the consignment of popular to the marginal category of ‘sociological interest’ has neglected, and explores through cinematic institutions and practices the discursive structures through which popular film has been produced, controlled and consumed. A review in Studies in Hispanic Cinemas highlights the fact that this volume provides ‘valuable information and illumination as well as provoking debate that can and will be usefully explored further by other scholars’. The reviewer concludes that it is a very valuable contribution to both the study and the teaching of Spanish cinema. The book has also been highly praised in the two most important Spanish academic journals devoted to Spanish film studies, Archivos de la filmoteca and Secuencias.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. et al. eds. (2003). Defining Cult Movies: The Cultural Politics of Oppositional Taste. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Defining cult movies stresses the sheer diversity of the films which have been brought together under the term 'cult movies'. Indeed, there is debate about whether films become cult movies on the basis of their modes of production, exhibition, internal textual features or through acts of appropriation by specific audiences.
This collection concentrates on the analysis of cult movies, how they are defined, who defines them and the cultural politics of these definitions. The definition of the cult movie relies on a sense of its distinction from the 'mainstream' or 'ordinary'. This also raises issues about the perception of it as an oppositional form of cinema, and of its strained relationships to processes of institutionalization and classification. In other words, cult movie fandom has often presented itself as being in opposition to the academy, commercial film industries and the media more generally, but has been far more dependent on these forms than it has usually been willing to admit. For example, the history of academic film studies and that of cult movie fandom are inextricably intertwined.
The international roster of essayists range over a wide and entertaining gamut of cult films from Dario Argento, Spanish horror and Peter Jackson's New Zealand gorefests to sexploitation, kung fu and sci-fi flicks, as well as investigations of Sharon Stone, 'underground' and fan trivia. As a result, this book will be of interest to students and researchers in the fields of film, media and cultural studies and to all those interested in this diverse and fascinating area of contemporary culture.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. ed. (2016). Editorial: Eurohorror. Film Studies [Online] 15:1-6. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7227/FS.0005.Rather than re-rehearsing familiar narratives about ‘Eurohorror’ erected around
an established canon of films, directors and themes, or reclaiming a particular text
or filmmaker from obscurity, the brief to participants was to historicise the term
since it is more often than not conflated with related cinematic categories such as
‘Euro Trash’ or ‘Euro Cult’, and to think about the critical intersections and interactions
between various fields of cultural production associated with it – fanzines,
small niche VHS and DVD distributors, spaces for dissemination – to approach it
from fresh perspectives so as to chronicle stories that have not yet been told. The
ultimate aim, therefore, was to map out a richer and more nuanced picture of the
cultural histories of ‘Eurohorror’, and, by extension, European horror film.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2018). Sex Scene: Media and the Sexual Revolution. Film Studies [Online] 18:114-118. Available at: https://doi.org/10.7227/FS.18.0007.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2018). Global Genres, Local Films: The Transnational Dimension of Spanish Cinema Oliete-Aldea, E. ed. Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas [Online] 15:112-116. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/slac.15.1.103_5.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2014). Review of Spanish Practices. Literature, Cinema, Television. Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas [Online] 11:310-311. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/slac.11.3.307_5.Spanish Practices: Literature, Cinema, Television, Paul Julian Smith (2012) Oxford: Legenda, x + 166 pp., ISBN 978-1-907975-04-2 (hbk), £45
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2006). Review of Isabel Santaolalla, 'Los "Otros". Etnicidad y “raza” en el cine español contemporáneo'. Vida Hispánica 33:45.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2005). Review of Peter Evans, 'Bigas Luna. Jamón jamón'. Hispanic Research Journal 6:189-190.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2004). Review of B. Jordan & R. Morgan-Tamosunas (eds), 'Contemporary Spanish Cultural Studies'. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 81:611-612.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2000). Review of Peter Evans, 'Spanish Cinema. The Auteurist Tradition'. Scope.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2019). Fellow travellers in Spanish print cultures of the Transition: the case of Trocha. Cuadernos Mensuales del Colectivo de la Historieta (1977-1978). Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies.A collective of twenty-six comics professionals (critics and scholars, scriptwriters and cartoonists, graphic artists and illustrators) came together in the self-managed publication TROCHA. Cuadernos mensuales del Colectivo de la Historieta (1977-78) to give voice and visibility to the profession and to propagate a type of comic that was adult, responsible and critical. Despite dying a very early death with the distribution of only a total of eight issues between May 1977 and March 1978, TROCHA did not only circulate against the backdrop of rapid and momentous historical changes in Spain, namely the holding of democratic elections (15 June 1977), the passing of the Amnesty Law (15 October 1977), and the signing of the Moncloa Pacts (25 October 1977) but also contributed to the drawing of a transition to democracy aligned to left-wing ideology and critical of official imagery and rhetoric.
Through a detailed description and examination of this publication – its history, its members, and its contents, the aim of the article is threefold: firstly, to provide a picture of the individual and collective production populating its pages as well as delineating the artistic trajectories of the cultural producers converging in it; secondly, to map the networks and creative alliances coalescing around it in order to trace the interconnectedness of the collective with contemporaneous local print cultures; and, thirdly, to read the stories and styles published in TROCHA as a product of their time (that is, a cultural barometer of its historical, political and social milieu). As carriers of unofficial cultural discourses, publications such as TROCHA engaged with the ‘here and now’ of the Spanish Transition in a critical – yet ephemeral – form. Moving beyond narrow discussions of individual magazines, this article argues for their reframing and rereading as part of broader popular print cultures and zones of production urged by collective experience and resistance and by shared cultural practices with a view to shed light – and cast shadows – over crucial period of recent Spanish history.
Lázaro-Reboll, A. (2019). Spanish Comics Cultures, 1965-1975. New York: Berghahn Books.